Monday, December 17, 2012

Violence Against Christians Moves Nigeria to No. 7 on List of Terror-Affected Nations

Boko Haram's violent jihad against Christians in Nigeria pushed the country into seventh place in annual rankings of countries impacted by terrorism, fueling more calls for the State Department to reconsider its decision not to designate the Islamist group as a foreign terrorist organization, reports.

Nigeria's ranking in the latest Global Terrorism Index, released this week, marked a shift from 12th place a year ago, from 16th place in 2008 and from 30th place in 2005. The top six countries this year are Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Yemen and Somalia. Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the index is calculated based on the number of terrorist incidents, the number of deaths, the number of casualties and the level of property damage. 

The newly-published rankings relate to 2011, a year during which 168 terror attacks were recorded in Nigeria, accounting for 437 deaths and 614 injuries. This year, however, has already witnessed more than 700 Nigerian Christian deaths in Boko Haram-related violence, according to the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN), and the coming Christmas holiday could bring more, if past years are a guide.

Terrorism: Mixed reactions trail passage of death penalty bill

Mixed reactions on Sunday in Lagos trailed the passage by the National Assembly of the bill prescribing death penalty for acts of terrorism. The National Assembly at its sitting on Thursday approved the death penalty for acts of terrorism following the recommendations of a Conference Committee's report of both houses.

The Committee's report harmonised the different versions of the Amendment Bill passed by both the upper and lower legislative chambers. The Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (Amendment) Bill, 2012, was passed by the House of Representatives on Oct. 11 and by the Senate on Oct. 17.

The Senate version prescribes life imprisonment for offences under this clause, while the House of Representatives prescribes death penalty. NAN recalls that after deliberations, the House of Representatives version on death penalty was adopted by the Conference Committee.

Speaking to NAN in an interview, Mr Godfrey Lemchi, Lagos State Chairman of the African Democratic Congress, described passage of the bill as ''appropriate''. According to him, terrorism is a grievous crime against humanity. ''It is the worst form of seeking redress by any group; therefore the penalty for such inhuman act both for the financiers and executors is capital punishment," he said.
He said that ''any unpunished terrorism breeds a family of terrorists''.

Bishop Gabriel Omoruyi, the spokesman of Lagos chapter of All Nigeria Peoples Party, also described the passage as ''a step in the right direction''. ''No one has the right to take the life of another illegally. Those who do so should squarely face the law. ''A situation where people enter Churches and Mosques to kill must stop,'' he said. Omoruyi said that if this was done, it would surely bring orderliness back to the society.

Mr Sunny Moniedafe, the former Chairman of the FCT chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria, also supported the bill. ''In as much as I want to support the death penalty, I have my reservations and posers for the Senate as to what has led some young Nigerians into terrorism. ''Has the leadership of our dear nation given them enough reasons to deviate from such acts? he queried. Moniedafe, however, urged the Senate to focus on good governance and eradication of injustice.

Mr Unimke Nawa, a former Publicity Secretary of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, said death penalty would not solve the problem of terrorism in the country. ''Despite the severity of the act of terrorism, the death sentence is not the panacea for abating the crime. ''We have had the death sentence for armed robbery for years without it checking the crime," he said. (NAN)

Nigerian Christians Ask for Prayer at Christmas Amid Attacks

Nigerian Christians are asking American churches to pray they will be safe from attacks this Christmas, CBN News reports.

The radical Islamic group Boko Haram is carrying out a war to drive Christians from northern Nigeria, and dozens of Christians have died in bombing attacks during Christmas services the past two years.

Rev. Musa Asake, general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, says he's "very, very worried" -- but he says that won't stop Nigerian Christians from going to church on Christmas. He is asking Christians in America to pray that "the Lord will intervene to protect churches."

More than 770 people have been killed in Boko Haram attacks so far this year, making 2012 the worst year of violence attributed to the group.


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